Which emotions do dogs feel?
We all have seen dogs experiencing sadness, fear, happiness, and some other emotions. But sometimes, it is hard to tell which emotions do dogs feel. Is their spectrum of feelings as ample as ours?
Would you believe that thousands of years ago, people actually believed that dogs did not have any emotions whatsoever? Back in those days, science was evolving and it helped us realize that we were beings that resulted from a set of very well-defined rules of physics and chemistry.
Then religion stepped in and told us that we were more than mere mechanical beings and that there was a spark that made us have feelings the way we did. It was also concluded that animals did not have that “spark” and were therefore incapable of having any feelings.
Today, we know that dogs do not have feelings the way we humans do, but we know that they actually experience emotions. But which emotions do dog experience?
Science says that dogs’ brains have the elements for emotions
Scientific investigations have shown that dogs have the brain structures and the hormones to experience emotions. It was concluded that dogs have the mental capabilities of a 2.5-year-old toddler. But what does that mean?
In order to understand this, we must know how the emotions of humans develop from birth to when they are two years and a half. A newborn baby only experiences excitement or arousal. He is not able to interpret those feelings into more complex emotions such as distress. During the first two weeks of life, they are able to differentiate between distress, happiness, and disgust.
As he is growing, a child begins to develop the following emotions in this order: fear, anger, joy, suspicion or shyness, love and affection, shame, pride, contempt, and guilt. The last four are experienced until the age of two and a half years.
This is where dogs stop developing emotions. So they are not capable of having these emotions. Now you know which emotions do dogs feel.
We, as humans, like to project ourselves into our pets and assign them a series of emotions they truly do not have. For example, when you come home to a mess, you call your dog’s attention to try and make him feel guilty. But his face is not an expression of guilt but one of fear at the consequences of his wrongdoing.
But we are happy to know that dogs are always happy to see us and that is exactly what they would say if they talked to us. As to which emotions do dogs feel, we are truly thankful that they don’t have too many negative ones.
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